Antwerp drugs criminal stages his own death to escape gangland revenge

Antwerp drugs criminal stages his own death to escape gangland revenge
Credit: Belga

The man responsible for robbing Antwerp’s drugs gangs of huge quantities of cocaine has staged his own death in an attempt to escape their revenge, police said.

Gabriel C. known as Long Fingers in the underworld, was employed by drugs gangs to ensure the passage of shipments of cocaine through the Port of Antwerp. However his deliveries were incomplete as, he said, customs officers had intercepted some of the containers before he could get to them.

In reality, C. had taken kilos of cocaine for himself, as the gangs found out on hearing of someone offering large quantities of cocaine for sale in blocks stamped with the numerals 88, which they recognised as their missing shipments.

From then on, C. had a price on his head, until this week, when photos began being circulating showing a man who appeared to be C. being tortured to death. And that might have been evidence that one of his pursuers had caught up with him, until police pointed out that the photos were fakes.

This was not the first time C. had faked his own death. In October he arranged for a death certificate produced by the police in Gambia in Africa to be circulated, claiming he had drowned in a swimming pool. The gangs refused to believe that ruse, and started going after members of his family. His parents’ home had a grenade thrown through the window. His brother-in-law was attacked in his electronics shop in Borgerhout district in Antwerp, and his old address in Wommelgem was attacked by another grenade – all in an attempt to flush C. out of hiding.

Then came rumours he had been tracked down by an Albanian gang, and photos of what they had apparently done to him. According to De Standaard, the photos are real, and the man is indeed Gabriel C., but the wounds on his body, apparently fatal, are fake, according to four doctors who studied the images, including one forensic pathologist. The visible wounds are most likely the work of a professional make-up artists, probably someone working in the film world.

The drugs underworld, the paper reports, was almost convinced their target had been found and dealt with, until police revealed the truth. The man with long fingers is still at large, and the hunt continues.

Alan Hope

The Brussels Times

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